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 APE  Vol.7 No.1 , February 2017
The Effect of Experience, Coaching and Technical Post, on the Coping Strategies Solicited by the U15 Elites Affiliated to the Regional Centers of the Tunisian Football Federation (TFF)
Abstract: Today, the training center represents an unavoidable passage in the career of the high-level footballer. Training centers are among the mechanisms of National Technical Direction, to develop Tunisian football, and to improve performance in youth categories. The objective of our study is to examine the coping strategies of the competition, solicited by the elites affiliated to the regional training centers of the Tunisian Football Federation (TFF) and evaluate the interaction effects of coaching, experience, and the technical position. 76 U15 football players regularly evaluated through high-stakes competitions are invited in one hour after the competition, to settle against the Arabic version of the inventory of coping strategies of the sporting competition. Data were collected and analyzed by SPSS IBM and AMOS version 21.0.0. The results suggest that mental distraction is the coping strategy most solicited by our participants, the MANOVA analysis, only disclosed the effect of the coaching factor on mental imagery, thought control, Effort expenditure and Relaxation, but regression analysis revealed no strong explanatory relationship. Overall, this study allowed us to deepen our knowledge about the coping strategies of the competition used in the preformation process in the different training centers of the TFF. In addition, the impact of experience, coaching and the specificity of the technical position, on the choice of these strategies in competitive contexts.

1. Introduction

In order to demonstrate their personal competence, elite footballers will be eva- luated several times, (Martinent and Decret, 2015) . An adequate transition period between the ages of 13 and 15 allows the athlete to achieve high-level performance and to specialize before the advanced years (16 and over), (Faure and Suaud, 1999; Slimani, 2000; Demazière and Csakavary, 2002, Bertrand, 2008; Roderick, 2006) . Young people in this way face a double uncertainty, their chance to lead to the end, in which the achievement of a career rests on a virtuosity acquired early; And the initiation in which the environment plays a fundamental role (Bertrand, 2015) . Moreover, coping with the stresses of sporting competition is an essential factor of self-regulation to promote optimal levels of sporting success (Gaudreau, Nicholls, & Levy, 2010) .

The treatment of the threatening action is always done only in relation to the answers that the individual judges himself capable or not to bring. It is in this treatment that the strategies of coping or coping, defined by Lazarus and Folkman, come into play as “the constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts deployed by the individual to respond to specific internal and/or external demands, which are assessed as very strong and exceeding its adaptive resources”. Coping is a dynamic process, which changes according to situations and how the individual treats them. The athlete adopts this mechanism to manage the stressful stresses of competition and maximize performance (Calmeiro et al., 2010, 2014, Doron & Gaudreau, 2014, Doron & Martinent, 2016) .

Carton-Caron (2004) states that the modes of “coping” are based on internal and/or external factors, indicating great inter and intra-individual variability. Some studies show that coping changes through the different phases of the com- petition (Gaudreau, Lapierre, Blondin, 2001, Gaudreau and Blondin, 2004) .

For some authors, the determinants of coping are provisional. For others, coping is determined by situational or transactional characteristics. The transactional approach of Lazarus and Folkman (1984) is based on the principle that the individual permanently assesses his relationship with the environment and his report on personal well-being. In the spirit of the Lazarus model, coping has two essential functions, direct action on the causes of the problem, or moderation of the emotional consequences of the stressful interaction. Mellalieu, Hanton and Fletcher (2006) , indicate that the level of the athlete’s experience influences the choice of coping strategies used. Some authors point out that young people use emotion-based strategies, while others point to the use of problem-oriented stra- tegies. The same applies to the elderly (Callahan and Chabrol, 2013) .

Cosh and Tully (2015) , Anshel and Si (2008) , identified that the behavior of the trainer (coaching) was described as a key stressor. The study by Gearity & Murray (2011) , on coaching, showed that the athletes indicated that the style of coaching was associated with their adaptation and their sports motivation. Support coaching can play a positive role in providing direction in the process of achieving goals and in promoting the development of athletic and mental skills (Côté et al., 1999) . In this sense, it can also be considered as a potential resource (Hobfoll, 2002) , to make athletes more capable of solving problems and to cope with the stresses inherent in sports competitions (Ntoumanis, Biddle and Haddock, 1999) . Effective coaching requires not only the establishment of a satisfactory relationship, but also the physical, technical, mental and tactical preparation of athletes (Hollembeak and Amorose, 2005) .

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Population

76 footballers U15 (average age 14.00, SD: 0.33) (see Table 1) affiliated to the regional training centers.

The regional technical advisor appointed by the Tunisian Football Federation (TFF) selects the best talents at the age of 13 to 14 in their region, after having evaluated these athletes during their participation in the official competitions in their clubs. Template, speed, technical capacity, tactical intelligence and integration; Are the most adopted criteria.

The selected footballers are then invited to the regional training centers supervised by the National Technical Direction (NTD) of the TFF; To be submitted to a final prospecting program, consisting of a physical, technical, and tactical testing package.

Finally, the 20 best talents are maintained and submitted to a training and evaluation program for 2 years to join the national selection.

Table 1. Frequency tables.

2.2. Measure

We examined coping strategies through the Arabic version of the Inventory of Coping Strategies in Sports Competition (Hajji et al., 2016) . The ISCCS (Gaud- reau and Blondin, 2002) is a questionnaire of 39 items. When handling the questionnaire, participants had to position themselves against a Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all used) to 5 (used very frequently). The questionnaire consists of 10 subscales: Mental imagery, Thought Control, Effort Expenditure, Seeking Support, Relaxation, Logical Analysis, Venting of Unpleasant Emotions, Disengagement, Social Withdrawal, Mental Distraction.

3. Procedure

After authorization to conduct our study, we contacted the heads of each training center and the parents of all athletes (under 15 years old); through letters of recommendation certified by the national technical direction (DTN) of the Tunisian Football Federation. The coaches are then invited to engage in the evaluation process.

All parents of participants have given their informed written consent. Prior to the data collection, the athletes who agreed to participate and their parents were given ample information about the study’s purpose and procedure, and were informed that the results would be made available after completion of the survey, Study is completed.

During their sectoral groupings, in December 2015 and March 2016, athletes were invited to position themselves against the Arab version of the ISCCS, one to two hours after the competition.

The questionnaire was then preceded by clear and concise instructions, indicating information concerning age, gender, sports discipline, technical post held, and level of experience. The data was then analyzed by SPSS IBM and AMOS version 21.0.0.

4. Data Analysis

We evaluated the psychometric properties of the Arabic version of the ISCCS (Hajji et al., 2016) , through the correlation for the ratio of the subscales, through the analysis of Alpha Cronbach for the internal consistency of the ISCCS, and Through an exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis processed with SPSS and AMOS 21.0.0, in order to validate the structure and arrangement of the ISCCS factors.

We use several indices of adequacy (Hoyle & Panter, 1995; Kline, 2005) to evaluate the fit models to data collected such as the χ2 statistic that overcomes the abnormality data (Satorra and Bentler, 1994) , the compared fit index CFI (Bentler, 1990) and TLI (Tucker-Lewis Index), and the Root Mean Square error of approximation RMSEA (Browne & Cudeck, 1993) .

To reveal the level of coping in general and in relation to the factors: coaching, level of experience and technical post of each athlete, we focused the mean scores and the standard deviations of each coping strategy.

To support the interaction effect of factors, coaching, level of experience and technical post on coping strategies implored by our elites, we performed an MNOVA analysis. Finally, and to explain the effects of existing interactions, we performed a multiple regression analysis (input method).

5. Results

Psychometric properties of ISCCS

1) The report of the subscales

Significant positive correlations at p < 0.05 were observed (see Table 2).

2) The internal consistency of the ISCCS

The Cronbach α coefficient of the different subscales ranges from 0.71 to 0.87, while the overall Cronbach α coefficient of the scale is 0.77 (See Table 3).

3) Exploratory Factor Analysis

a) the 6-factor model: task-oriented coping: TOC

-Determining = 3.478E−005.

-KMO index and Bartlett test: 0.696 (Meaning of Bartlett < 0.001).

-The saturations of each item on the 6-factor model (See Table 4).

b) the 4-factor model: emotion-oriented coping: EOC

Table 2. Inter-subscale correlations of ISCCS.

*The correlation is significant at 0.05 (bilateral). **The correlation is significant at 0.01 (bilateral).

Table 3. Alpha Cronbach coefficient of the ISCCS.

Table 4. Standardized solutions for factor loadings for the task oriented coping (TOC).

-Determining = 0.001.

-KMO index and Bartlett test: 0.714 (Meaning of Bartlett < 0.001).

-The saturations of each item on the 4-factor model (See Table 5).

4) Confirmatory Factor Analysis

The 6-factor and 4-factor model adjustment indices are presented in Table 6.

5.1. Level of Coping

The average scores and standard deviations of each subscale are presented in Table 7 and Table 8.

Generally mental distraction, Social withdrawal and disengagement, are the coping strategies most requested by our participants.

Compared to the training center, we have distinguished that the coping strategies most used are, the control of thoughts among the elites of Gafsa, the Social withdrawal among the elites of Sidi Bouzid, the relaxation among the elites of Gabès and the mental distraction among the elites of El Kef.

Compared to the experience, we found that both groups, implore more the mental distraction.

Compared to the technical position, we have shown that the mental distraction is more demanded in the defenders, the midfielders and the attackers. While the goalkeepers demand more Social withdrawal.

Table 5. Standardized solutions for factor loadings for the emotion oriented coping (EOC).

Table 6. Confirmatory factor analysis of the ISCCS measurement model.

Table 7. The level of coping strategies among the FFT-U15 elites.

Table 8. The level of coping strategies in relation to factors: training center, experience and technical position.

The interaction effect of coaching, experience and technical position.

The analysis of variance validated only the effect of the coaching center on the coping strategies of competition among our elites, [Wilks’ Lambda = 0.233 < 1, D = 2.21, p = 0.002 < 0.05.] (See Table 9).

The strategies involved are mental imaging (F = 2.882, p = 0.046 < 0.05), thought control (F = 3.17; p = 0.036 < 0.05), Effort expenditure (F = 3.969; p = 0.014 < 0.05) and relaxation (F = 6.508; p = 0.001 < 0.05) (See Table 10).

Table 9. The effect of interaction between factors (IV) and strategies of coping (DV).

Table 10. Inter-subject interaction effects between training center factor and coping strategies).

5.2. Multiple Linear Regression

To explain the effect of interaction, a multiple regression analysis (entry me- thod) was performed, we revealed four explanatory relationships that predict the following coping strategies (see Table 11):

The mental imagery [R2 = 0.157; F = 4.483 at p = 0.006], determined by training center (coaching) factors (β = −0.264, t = −2.440 at p = 0.017).

The Relaxation [R2 = 0.161; F = 4.622 at p = 0.005], determined by the training center (coaching) factors (β = 0.298, t = 2.748 at p = 0.008) and technical positions (β = −0.230, t = −2.124 at p = 0.037).

The logical analysis [R2 = 0.145; F = 4.070 at p = 0.010], determined by the technical positions (β = 0.241, t = 2.207 at p = 0.031). And the mental distraction [R2 = 0.106; F = 2.831 at p = 0.044], determined by the training center (coaching) factors (β = 0.325, t = 2.902 at p = 0.005) (See Table 12).

Table 11. Table summary of models.

Table 12. Coefficients table.

6. Discussion

6.1. Psychometric Properties

For Relationships between the ISCCS subscales, Correlation values range from 0.23 to 0.38, so they are within an acceptable range (Briggs and Cheeks, 1986) , (see Table 2).

For the internal consistency of the scale, the coefficients of α Cronbach are acceptable and similar to that of the original version of (Gaudreau & Blondin, 2002) and the Arab version of ISCCS (Hajji et al., 2016) . In general, according to De Vellis (1991) , alpha values greater than 0.60 are considered acceptable. (See Table 3).

For confirmatory factor analysis revealed a good fit for both models. The 6-factor model [Chi-2 = 251.84 at p = 0.048; CFI and TLI are > 0.9 and RMSEA < 0.08], and the 4-factor model [Chi-2 = 130.44 at p = 0.016; CFI and TLI are > 0.9 and RMSEA < 0.08]. Tabachnick and Fidell (2007) , (See Table 6 and Figure 1 and Figure 2).

Figure 1. 6-factor model.

6.2. Level of Coping and Anxiety

The results of our study suggest that coping strategies oriented towards emotion, in a general way or in relation to factors, coaching, experience and technical positions, are most implored by our elites through the competitive environment. While some authors confirm ( Gaudreau et al., 2002 ; Nicholls et al., Doron & Gaudreau, 2014, Doron and Martinent, 2016 ) that task-oriented coping strategies are positively associated with performance, At the level of achievement the objectives of the competition (Amiot, Gaudreau and Blanchard, 2004; Dinca & Rosnet, 2007) .

Figure 2. 4-factor model.

6.3. The Interaction Effect of Determinants

To estimate the interaction effect of the factors, the MANOVA variance analysis proves that only the training center or coaching factor has an interaction effect on task-oriented coping strategies such as imaging Mental control, thought control, effort deployment and relaxation. While the experience and the game post, have no interaction effect. Our results are similar to those published in the study by Nicolas, Gaudreau, and Franche (2011) , who asserts that task-oriented coping strategies is an important process by which the Perceived support coaching has an influence on athletes during a specific competition. Similarly for Kristiansen et al. (2008) , in elite athletes in four different European countries.

6.4. Regression

In order to know what factors (coaching, experience, technical position) influence the coping strategies of the competition. We performed a multiple regression analysis, the input method.

The results suggest that:

The VIF and tolerance values confirm the absence of multicollinearity problem (see Table 12).

The Durbi-Watson test values for assessing the correlation between residuals and errors are in the range of 1.5 to 2.5. The regression model is validated.

The coefficients of F obtained are significant at p < 0.05, indicating that the model contribute to better predict coping strategies (Hair et al., 2010) .

The results also suggest that there are only four significant explanatory relationships at p < 0.05); Whereas the values of R2 indicate that the strength of all these relationships is very low (see Table 11).

-15.7% of mental imagery is explained by factors, training center (coaching) and experience.

-16.1% of relaxation is explained by the factors, training center (coaching) and Technical positions

-14.5% logical analysis is explained only by the factor, gaming station

-10.6% of the mental distraction is explained only by the factor, training center

The values of R2 indicate that the strength of all explanatory relationships is very low.

7. Conclusion

Research on coping in sports was strongly influenced by the transactional coping approach of Lazarus and Folkman (Nicholls & Polman, 2007) . In this context, our work was designed to provide a descriptive basis for understanding how our elites in regional state training centers manipulate coping strategies in key competitive events.

In the sports field, the use of task-oriented coping strategies and disengagement during a sporting competition are associated, positively and negatively, with the gap between the objectives set beforehand and the result achieved (Gau- dreau & Blondin, 2004; Gaudreau, Blondin, & Lapierre, 2002) , (Ntoumanis & Biddle, 1998, Kim and Duda, 2003 ). Athletes who have a high use of task-ori- ented coping strategies, adapt better to the competition situation (Gaudreau & Blondin, 2004) . Contrary to what was expected, our elites are more impatient of emotion-based coping strategies.

Task-oriented coping strategies are associated with a more efficient organization of learning and working methods (Devonport & Lane, 2006) . Coaching is the effective determinants of training in the field of sport. In our work, analysis of variance revealed only the effect of training center where the trainer plays the crucial role, on the coping strategies used by our elites. Coaching has been established as a stressor in elite athletes. The flexibility and support of coaches was a crucial source for overcoming stressors (Cosh and Tully, 2015) .

Today, applied research is needed to examine whether preventive psycho- educational interventions that teach coaching support behaviors (Smith, Smoll and Cumming, 2007) have effects on the use of athletes coping strategies.

8. Limits

Among the limitations of our work, only situational coping strategies have been examined, while coping strategies are also provisional, changing over time, situ- ations and contexts (Gaudreau & Miranda, 2010) .

The second limit in our work is that there was no possibility to evaluate the coping during the competition (Gaudreau and Blondin, 2002) .

Cite this paper: Hajji, J. , Elloumi, A. , (2017) The Effect of Experience, Coaching and Technical Post, on the Coping Strategies Solicited by the U15 Elites Affiliated to the Regional Centers of the Tunisian Football Federation (TFF). Advances in Physical Education, 7, 107-122. doi: 10.4236/ape.2017.71010.
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